There are many internal as well as external funding sources that can help with financing for graduate research. These include a mixture of funds to cover research costs and those to support graduate stipends. Below we provide additional information and links particularly geared toward current graduate students in the program. Prospective students may want to consider viewing links for external fellowships, such as those provided by the National Science Foundation or the Ford Foundation which can be applied for prior to starting grad school. 

To be accepted into the Environmental Studies MS or PhD programs, acceptance depends very heavily upon the recommendation of a potential faculty advisor, so prospective students are strongly encouraged to contact a potential advisor. Take a look at faculty members' research interests, websites, and publications. Email faculty whom you are interested in working with to let them know of your interest and learn more about their lab and current research. This email is a great time to ask what they are looking for in a student and start determining whether their lab is a good fit for you. In your introduction email, it is helpful to include information about what degree you are interested in pursuing and why, your own research interests, and why you are interested in working with that particular faculty member.

Departmental Funding

  • Graduate Teaching Assistants (TA): Graduate students who supervise and lead recitation sections, discussion sections, serve as a grader for lectures (and sometimes lecturing), and manage online content or perform comparable activities. Each TA must be under the guidance of a particular professor(s) designated by the department chair or their delegate.  TAs are not placed in overall charge of courses. Pay differs based on the degree (PhD vs. Master's) and department funds. Generally, contracts are for one semester. These positions pay for full tuition remission (in or out of state) as well as a portion of the BuffGold Health Insurance Plan. Note: Student fees are the responsibility of the student and are not covered by the TA support. 
  • Graduate Part-time Instructor (GTPI): In order to be a GPTI you need a Master's degree, and have demonstrated competence in classroom teaching. Pay tends to be higher than a TA position, and contracts can run anywhere from one semester to two years. As a GPTI you are the "instructor of record," which means you are in full command of the class you are teaching. The activities may include preparing the course syllabus, instructing their class, holding office hours, determining grades, etc. Like TAships, these positions pay for full tuition remission (in or out of state) as well as a portion of the BuffGold Health Insurance Plan.
  • Graduate Research Assistant (RA): Graduate students assisting with and performing research, writing up results of experiments, presenting findings at conferences, etc are appointed as an RA. Similar to TAships, there is a stipend attached to RAs that offers tuition remission (in or out of state) and covers a portion of the BuffGold Health Insurance Plan, though some RA positions do not and are classified as hourly. Pay differs based on degree (PhD vs. Master's) as well as the specific funding source. RAs may be offered by your advisor, other professors around campus, and centers and institutes.
  • Pre-Doc Trainee (Fellowship) - Graduate students on training grants or fellowships– no service to the university is expected. Payment allows for student to continue their own scholarly and research pursuits. Because this is not an employee of the university taxes are not withheld, nor does the student receive any tax documentation.  Students should check with the IRS for guidance on how to report fellowship income. Not eligible for tuition remission but may be eligible for dental insurance.

Awards and Grants

  • ENVS Small Research & Travel Grants: The Environmental Studies departments offers semi-annual current small-research grants limited to current ENVS graduate students (PhD and MS)
  • The Graduate School awards several small research grants, travel grants, and Dissertation completion fellowships (for students writing their dissertations). The travel grants are non-competitive and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Graduate students may receive these small travel grants twice during their grad careers.
  • The Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG) represents graduate and professional students at the University of Colorado Boulder and awards a variety of grants for individual or group travel, DEI activism, and excellence in teaching and research.

Fellowships and Scholarships

The Environmental Studies department offers a variety of fellowships and scholarships for which our students may apply to

  • B.E. Willard Fellowship: To provide a fellowship to an ENVS graduate student in field ecology.
  • Butler Tuckerman Fellowship: This fellowship provides an annual award to a current ENVS graduate student with preference given to students studying land and water protection and conservation and restoration of the environment.
  • Diana Nemergut Memorial Graduate Scholarship: The purpose of this scholarship is to provide support for graduate students working on questions in the areas of environmental microbiology and ecological sustainability at the University of Colorado Boulder.
  • Grand Challenges (Low- and Middle-Income Students) Graduate Scholarship: This is a proposed Sustainable Development Scholarship Program that will identify, fund, and train exceptional students from low and lower-middle income countries to solve big problems in development for their home countries and regions -- and the planet. This work aligns strongly with the timeline for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These scholarships will be built around demand-driven research, with a focus on developing real-world, rapidly scalable prototype solutions over the course of a 4-year PhD program, that are technically and socially feasible. It will draw on the expertise in cutting edge research done at CU and ENVS and build partnerships for long-term and lasting impact. ENVS seeks to fund scholarships awarded in a competition to students who have game-changing ideas but limited capacity for funding. We will identify the best proposals for tackling five grand challenge areas: climate change, air quality, water security, food systems, and biodiversity loss. ENVS seeks to secure funding for four-year graduate research awards (~$250K per student total, $62.5k/year), awarded to a single student every year, from the date of scholarship program commencement to the year 2030.
  • Radford Byerly Award in Science and Technology Award: This award supports ENVS graduate students with a demonstrated commitment to making a significant contribution to science and technology policy in their work.
  • Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Fellowship: To provide support for CU Boulder student travel to Red Cross/Red Crescent projects.

Keep in mind that this list isn't exhaustive in any category, and that other significant funding sources exist. It's up to you to search far and wide for the awards that might apply to you. ENVS perpetually funnels grant and scholarship information to students via email, so keep an eye on your inbox for upcoming competitions and awards. 

Opportunities for International Students

For international students applying to graduate school in the US, you can apply for the Fulbright Foreign Student Program prior to starting grad school. The Fulbright Foreign Student Program enables graduate students, young professionals, and artists, from abroad to study and conduct research in the United States. Country-specific information can be found on their website.

Award and Grant Deadlines
Name of Award, Grant, or Fellowship Announcement Deadline
ENVS - Research Grant Announced in early Spring (February) Mid-March
ENVS - Butler Tuckerman Fellowship Announced in early Spring (February) Mid-March
ENVS - Radford Bylery Award Announced in Fall (typically October) Mid-November
Grad School - Bev Sears Announced in Fall (September) Late-October
Grad School - Cynthia H. Schultz Announced in Fall (September) Late-October
Grad School - Dissertation Fellowship Announced in Fall (September) Late-October
Grad School - Travel Grants Ongoing (typically every semester, September/February) October/March
GPSG - Travel Grants Ongoing (typically every semester, September/February) October/March
GPSG - DEI Award Ongoing (typically every semester, September/February) October/March